They said they were facing an economic apocalypse, we offered “retraining” and complained about their white privilege. Is it any wonder we lost? One after another, the dispatches came back from the provinces. The coal mines are gone, the steel mills are closed, the drugs are rampant, the towns are decimated and everywhere you look depression, despair, fear. In the face of Trump’s willingness to boldly proclaim without facts or evidence that he would bring the good times back, we offered a tepid gallows logic. Well, those jobs are actually gone for good, we knowingly told them. And we offered a fantastical non-solution. We will retrain you for good jobs! Never mind that these “good jobs” didn’t exist in East Kentucky or Cleveland. And as a final insult, we lectured a struggling people watching their kids die of drug overdoses about their white privilege. Can you blame them for calling bullshit? All Trump could offer was white nationalism as protection against competing with black and brown people. It wasn’t a very compelling case, but it was vastly superior to a candidate who enthusiastically backed NAFTA, seems most at ease in a room of Goldman Sachs bankers and was almost certain to do nothing for these towns other than maybe setting up a local chapter of Rednecks Who Code. We bet that Trump’s manifest awfulness would be enough to let us eke out a win. We were dead wrong. Here’s my version of the Democratic Party autopsy because, make no mistake, the old ways of the Democratic party must die…

The slow drift in the Democratic Party was long in the making. It’s been many years since the Democratic Party decided to throw their lot in with the shiny world of corporate professionals, Wall Street financiers, and Silicon Valley gurus. We accepted the decline of unions as inevitable (it wasn’t), didn’t bother even trying to come up with an alternative source of worker power and embraced the new politics of money even as we talked out the other side of our mouths about oh how terrible all this flood of cash in politics is. If you just send in one more donation we’ll be able to get the money out! There was an incredibly revealing moment at the DNC. In an effort to rev up the crowd one of the speakers called out: “Who in this room works with their hands?” Silence. It was a lot more than one candidate who led us to this place.